People's Alliance PAC 2016 Endorsements:
President - Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders
US Senate - Deborah Ross
US Congress (6th District) - Pete Glidewell
US Congress (13th District) - John McNeil
Governor - Roy Cooper
Lt. Governor - Linda Coleman
Attorney General - Josh Stein
Commissioner of Labor - Charles Meeker
Superintendent of Public Instruction - June Atkinson
Treasurer - Dan Blue III
Durham County Register of Deeds - Sharon Davis
County Commission (5 seats) - Heidi Carter, James Hill Jr., Elaine Hyman, Wendy Jacobs & Ellen Reckhow.
Board of Education - Steve Unruhe (At-large), Minnie Forte-Brown (District A) & Xavier Cason (District B).
President of the United States - Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders - the People choose!
US Senate - Deborah Ross has the Progressive values and experience we need in the Senate. Ross served five terms in the General Assembly, where she was an effective advocate for ordinary people. She fought for improved public education and for consumers against predatory lending. In the Senate, she will fight against the influence of big money in politics. She would vote to close tax loopholes for the wealthy, raise the minimum wage, and invest in education, research, and national infrastructure. She will defend social security and strengthen affordable health care.
US Congress (District 6) - Pete Glidewell. In addition to being a Vietnam Veteran, he operates a business management consulting firm, and before that held executive positions in a number of textile manufacturing and sales firms. Glidewell is a practical, business-oriented progressive. He is sensitive to the employment needs of North Carolinians and will work to re-train workers for new manufacturing jobs. He will protect programs like the Affordable care Act, Social Security, and Medicare and Medicaid.
US Congress (District 13) - John McNeil has a law firm and mediation service in Raleigh. He is a Marine Corps veteran, served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and believes our foreign policy should be guided by vigorous diplomacy, not saber rattling. He supports the Affordable Care Act and would work to improve it. We were impressed with his thoughtfulness, energy, and plain speaking. His views on the issues align well with PA. He supports equal pay for equal work and strong environmental protections.
Governor - Roy Cooper served in both houses of the legislature and three terms as Attorney General. He opposes regressive tax laws rammed through by the General Assembly. He strongly supports public education and decries the Republican assault on schools. He opposes vouchers and unlimited, unregulated charter schools. As a candidate, Cooper opposes voter ID, which he feels obliged to defend as Attorney General. When it passed, he urged Governor McCrory to veto it. He would restore early voting and same-day registration. Cooper supports the immediate expansion of Medicaid coverage. He supports equal rights for the LGBT community and asked the Governor to veto legislation allowing magistrates to avoid performing gay marriages. He is a defender of consumer rights and the environment. He supports the work of the Innocence Commission and would restore the Racial Justice Act repealed by the Republican legislature. Cooper is a solid progressive and dedicated public servant working for the people of North Carolina.
Lieutenant Governor - Linda Coleman missed winning in 2012 by 6,800 votes out of more than 4.3 million, getting more votes than the Democratic candidate for Governor. Coleman is a genuine progressive with a solid record of public service. She was Chair of the Wake County Commission, served three terms in the NC House, and was Director of State Personnel. Coleman is a strong supporter of public education and harsh critic of Lt. Governor Dan Forest’s support for school vouchers and unlimited charter schools. Coleman believes building an educated work force is key to economic development that reaches ordinary North Carolinians. She is for a non-partisan redistricting process and opposes voter ID laws. She would break the Hardison amendment shackles binding our environmental regulatory agencies. Coleman supports Medicaid expansion. She opposes Republican tax reforms that unfairly shift the tax burden to middle class and lower middle class taxpayers.
NC Attorney General - Josh Stein was the head of the Consumer Division in the AG’s office for eight years. In that role he fought against, predatory lending, consumer scams, mortgage fraud, elder abuse, and identity theft. He pushed back against big utilities to keep rates low. Since 2009, Stein has served in the NC Senate where he has been a champion of public education, the environment, voting rights, consumer interests, and equal rights for the LGBT community. In 2015, both his Republican and Democratic colleagues voted him the most effective Democratic Senator. Stein is the right man for the AG’s office hands down.
Commissioner of Labor - Charles Meeker, an attorney, has proved himself an effective leader. As Mayor of Raleigh, he led the capitol through a renaissance of renewal and growth. As labor commissioner, Meeker will focus on workplace safety. He will protect honest employers against competitors who seek an unfair advantage by incorrectly classifying workers. He will fight to make sure employees are paid what they are promised. Cherie Berry, the current Commissioner, opposes the mission of the agency she oversees and has fallen down on the job. PA PAC believes Charles Meeker will put the Labor Department back to work for the people.
Superintendent of Public Instruction - June Atkinson. PA PAC endorsed Atkinson when she first ran for State Superintendent in 2004. We have not been disappointed. She has been a steady and unwavering advocate for the best public education for children. Under her leadership, NC’s high school graduation rate has jumped from 68% to an all-time high of 86%. Atkinson supports improving teacher pay, smaller class sizes, and finding real solutions for low-performing schools. She opposes vouchers and wants effective oversight of charters. She is opposed to what she calls the “privatization” of education by the Republican-led legislature.
State Treasurer - Dan Blue III knows how to manage the people’s money. He was an investment banker in New York before returning to NC to practice law in the complex area of bond financing. As State Treasurer, Blue will protect the state pension fund and the state’s AAA bond rating. He supports the defined benefit retirement plan for state employees, and investing state money in ways that promote the economic growth and security of North Carolinians. He wants to reduce fees and costs of investing the state's funds by using the strength of the state’s business to negotiate with brokers and fund managers. Blue is the best candidate to replace out-going Treasurer Janet Cowell, who has done an outstanding job.
Durham County Register of Deeds - Sharon Davis has the legal training and experience in the office to be the best candidate. Davis is a graduate of N.C. Central Law School. She has served for over 26 years in the Register of Deeds office, most recently as the Chief Assistant. She is one of a few recipients of the Charles W. Moore Award for Excellence from the N.C. Association of Registers of Deeds. Davis’s commitment to process improvement while maintaining continuity of service in the Register’s office will serve Durham well. We need an experienced hand in this important office whose functions touch the lives of all Durham residents.
Durham County Board of Commissioners - Heidi Carter, James Hill Jr, Elaine Hyman, Wendy Jacobs & Ellen Reckhow.
Heidi Carter – As Chair of the School Board, Carter is an energetic leader who does her homework. Her response to the PA PAC questionnaire is a serious plan of action for county government. She sees quality education as a key to broadening Durham’s prosperity to all residents. Carter will build a more effective partnership between Durham Public Schools and county government. Carter is a strong advocate for a healthy community & affordable housing. She supports neighborhoods, and is concerned about the displacement and marginalization that comes with higher rents and home prices. We need Carter on our County team.
James Hill, Jr. – Few candidates know PA’s priorities and values better than James Hill. As a former PA board member and PAC leader, he helped shape and articulate them. Hill is a former Chair of Durham’s Human Relations Commission. He will be a reliable advocate for our public schools and will focus on ending the school-to-prison pipeline. He supports expanding pre-K. He wants expanded job training. Hill supports affordable housing and will urge developers to include an affordable component in their projects. He is concerned about conditions at the jail and will advocate for their improvement. We are enthusiastic about James Hill.
Elaine Hyman – A solid progressive with a career’s experience in government, Hyman worked first for the EPA and then for 26 years for Durham County. Now, in her retirement, she continues to serve the people of Durham as Vice Chair of the City-County Planning Commission. Hyman’s priority is combating poverty through the wise management of economic development to benefit all Durham residents. She believes Durham can afford to be choosy when making development decisions. On the Planning Commission she has supported thoughtful growth, but has been sympathetic to the concerns of neighborhoods. Hyman stands with the People’s Alliance when it comes to fully funding public schools, but sees the need to redirect schools dollars to improve educational outcomes. Hyman is a listener and will contribute to collegiality on the Board of Commissioners.
Wendy Jacobs – Before joining the Board of Commissioners in 2012, Jacobs was a school teacher and member of the City-County Planning Commission. She is thorough, thoughtful, and passionate. She has used her position as a Commissioner to advocate for better public schools, services for seniors, job creation and reduced barriers to employment. Currently she serves as chair of the Joint City-County Planning Committee, where she advocates for policies to protect our environment, neighborhoods, and affordable homes. PA PAC supported Jacobs when she ran in 2012, and she has more than earned the organization’s renewed support in 2016.
Ellen Reckhow – On the Board of County Commissioners since 1988, Reckhow has served as the board’s chair and vice-chair. She is a champion for safe neighborhoods, sustainable development, and sound educational programs. Reckhow will continue working to make County government more accountable, effective and user friendly. She is deeply concerned about the future of Durham and is working to close opportunity gaps in education, economic development, affordable housing, and services, particularly for persons with mental illness. Reckhow has proven to be a reliable ally for our issues and values.
Board of Education At Large - Steve Unruhe has dedicated his life to public education, retiring after teaching in Durham for 29 years. A beloved, passionate, and effective teacher, Unruhe received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Journalism Education Association in November. He was honored with the US Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching in 1997. Unrhue has been a fearless and outspoken advocate for public schools. He served as President of the Durham Association of Educators and on the Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Committee. No one knows better than Steve Unruhe where our school dollars need to be invested for positive educational outcomes for our children is the classroom. Unruhe’s candidacy offers voters a rare opportunity to improve public education in Durham.
Board of Education District A - Minnie Forte-Brown (unopposed). Forte-Brown has served on the school board for 12 years, some as its Chair, with PA PAC support. She is an outspoken advocate for children of color. PA members are energized by her ideas for race and gender equity training in Durham’s schools and look forward to working with her for another term.
Board of Education District B - Xavier Cason (uncontested). Cason retired after serving 18 years as an educator with Durham Public Schools. Mr. Cason previously was Band Director at NCCU. He has shown his willingness to speak out for students and teachers throughout his career and will continue this advocacy on the Board. Cason has been active with the Durham Association of Educators and recently toured over 20 schools to learn more about their needs and attributes. We believe he will make an excellent addition to a strong Board of Education.
Connect NC Bond Issue – SUPPORT the $2 billion “Connect NC” bond issue for university and community college facilities (66%), including NCCU and Durham Tech; with funds for all N.C. state parks (5%), including Eno River State Park and the Mountains to the Sea Trail; and upgrades to water and sewer infrastructure (15%) in towns and smaller cities across North Carolina. These basic improvements to public infrastructure should be in the regular budget funded through general revenue, instead of obligation bonds. However, this may be the only way to make these investments in the current political climate. The Republican-controlled General Assembly and Republican Governor created a regressive, inadequate tax system, so the average and lower-income majority pay a higher percent of their income for taxes than high income taxpayers. If tax revenues fail to keep pace with costs, the Republican legislature will almost certainly cut funding for education and other needs to pay off the bonds. It is time to get a new Legislature!
NOVEMBER 8 - GENERAL ELECTION:
US Congess: District 1- G. K. Butterfield & District 4 - David Price.
BC Council of State: Secretary of State - Elaine Marshall, State Auditor - Beth Wood, Commissioner of Insurance - Wayne Goodwin, Commissioner of Agriculture - Walter Smith.
NC Legislature: Senate 20 - Floyd McKissick, Senate 22 - Mike Woodard, House 29 - Larry Hall, House 30 - Paul Luebke, House 31 - H. M. (Mickey) & House 50 - Graig Meyer.
NC Supreme Court – OPPOSE retention of Justice Robert H. Edmunds.
Court of Appeals: Dietz seat - Vince Rozier, Hunter seat - Abraham Jones, Stephens seat - Linda Stephens & Zachary seat - Rickie McKoy-Mitchell.
District Court (District 14) - Shamieka Rhinehart.
CLICK HERE FOR 2016 CANDIDATE QUESTIONAIRES (& Resumes, if submitted)